Abstract:Ergonomic design of a pillow 2017

Frühjahrskongress 2017, Brugg und Zürich: Soziotechnische Gestaltung des digitalen Wandels – kreativ, innovativ, sinnhaft. Gesellschaft für Arbeitswissenschaft e.V., Dortmund (Hrsg.) –  A.1.1

Ergonomic design of a pillow

Hideki OYAMA1, Manami NOZAKI2, Kageyu NORO3

1 Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, Tohoku University 2-1, Seiryo-cho, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi, 980-8575, Japan 2 Faculty of Nursing, Toho University 4-16-20 Omorinishi, Ota-ku, Tokyo 143-0015, Japan 3 Waseda University, ErgoSeating Co., Ltd. 4-40-2, Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 169-0075, Japan

Abstract. This research is aimed at promoting higher quality of sleep by developing pillows that will help improve breathing through realizing unhampered body movement, in particular users’ head motion. A prototype model of cylindrical pillow was created based on a past finding that the extended positon of cervical part would lead to improved breathing than its flexed position. In addition, a supporting base was developed to put the cylinder on in a bid to secure head stability as well as to bring about more comfortable sleep and improved ventilation characteristics. Pressure distribution of head part was measured resulting in an increase in contact area of the prototype model compared with that of a conventional flat type pillow. Investigation was made on how breathing characteristics were affected by differences in head position and pillow type to obtain a finding that the extended cervical position, compared with the flexed one, tends to have a significant effect of a decrease in breathing frequency while an increase in breathing amplitude. It was concluded that the extended cervical position could expand the respiratory passage to facilitate slower and deeper breathing. Positive views were obtained from usability testing surveys with regard to such characteristic features of prototype pillows as resilience, feelings of stability, and ease of rolling-over. Meanwhile, differences among individuals were recognized in terms of suitability of pillow height. The aforementioned findings reasonably led to the presumption that prototype pillows could support the cervical extensive position with a wider contact area along neck and back of head, enabling its user to breathe more smoothly.

Keywords. pillow, head position, breathing